The neck of my Guitar

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July 26, 2008 - Germany
Lörrach - Marktplatz

The band (not all members are present at all shows)

Vincent Nguini - Guitar
Bakithi Kumalo - Bass
Mark Stewart - Guitars, Cello, Saxophone, selfmade instruments
Tony Cedras - Accordeon, Keyboard, Guitars
Andy Snitzer - Saxophone, Synthesizer
Jamey Haddad - Percussion
Charley Drayton - Drums

Fans who attended this show

Andrea Kronsteiner

Review by:

Just a warning - this is going to be a mammoth review but we had such a wonderful day. Lorrach was my first PS concert and it was quite simply one of the most perfect days of my life. I should begin the review few days earlier for a bit of context. I arrived in France on 24/7/08 in prepartion for a 6 month uni exchange in Lyon. I´d originally booked later flights but after finding out about the tour i decided it was definitely worth the effort to change my plans so I could arrive in time to see Paul with the lovely members of the French forum. So the day after my arrival in Paris, I went to Strasbourg to meet Alain, his wife Anita, Lionel and his friend Tony. From there we departed early on Saturday for Lorrach. THe concert was going to start at 8pm and we arrived at 1pm. We had lunch and walked around for a bit. We were very surprised at the setting of hte stage - a relatively small one in the centre of a small plaza, surrounde don all sides by cafes, hotels etc. It seemed a bit of a strange place for a concert. There were technicians on stage doing sound checks but not Paul and his band. ANyway we wandered around a bit to check hte place out and felt a bit lost as to how ot apss the time. But by the time we got back to the stage, Tony Cedras and Mark Stewart were there doing sound checks too (Mark with the craziest tie dye shirt) and before we knew it Paul emerged on stage!! There were already about 20 or 30 ppl gathered around and of course we all cheered and clapped and he gave a shy little wave. What followed was an absolute treat - almost an hour of Paul and his band playing snippets of songs in rehersal, observing Paul´s perfectionist tendencies - all captured on video by Alain. For all of us it was like an intimate mini concert - and surprisingly the crowd didn´t get much bitter. It was ujst magical to finally see him up close, to watch him in his natural mode, out of a strictly concert setting. He seemed veyr relaxed and was really in a great mood, smiled and laughed a lot. He was wearing a red tshirt (like the Old Friends tour) and jeans - lol finally a change of uniform we thought! - and he put on his sunnies after a shile and for aquite a period of time he just sang diretly facing us. I don´t know ehre exactly he was looking but I stared straight at him for ages and I think he must have noticed the home / Internet made Paul Simon tshirt i was wearing (and coincidentally I was also wearing almost the same hat as him) and he pointed at me during the Cajan girls line of That was your mother. It was just wonderful watching it all fr the front row - albeit quite a distance still fr the stage due to the barriers (baout 10m?) Anyway they eventually wrappe dthings up but we (all of us fr Strasbourg and Anita from Belgium and some other fans) walked aournd the back to catch a glimpse of him, THe benfit of a small venue is that there´s only one exit - so we oculdn´t miss him. Lio and Anita foudn the right place first and we all followed and sure enough Tony Cedras soon emerged saying that Paul was coming but had security with him. By this time we all had cameras out and things for him to sing, though I didn´t expect much cos he´s usually quite private with things like that. But he seemed to be in a really great mood and said ´I´ll sign for 5 min´ and started taking things from us (after security said no photos). Anyway, as I handed him my ROTS booklet Alain told Paiul ´She´s from Australia´ - et merci beaucoup pour ca Alain, c´est vraiment grace a toi que j´ai eu un de plus beaux souvienirs de ma vie. Well it was a little misleading cos I was mainly in Europe for exchange, but anyway, Paul seemed very surprised and he recognised me from a few moments ago, so he said ´You came from Australia?´ and it was one of those completely unexpeceted but wonderful moments where you´re so overwhelmed you just say the first thing that comes into your head and I said something like ´Yes, you´ve got to do a tour there, I´ve been waiting forever!´ and he replied ´Yeah we´re thinking of doing a tour in Australia, maybe in March´ - so there you go, first hand info from the most reliable source of all! And then as he started to sign he asked ´What´s your name?´ and when I told him he wrote ´For Nikki, Paul Simon´. I don´t think I can truly describe how much that means to me. It was my third day in Europe and after a dose of jetlag and homesickness I had really lowered my expectations and excitement about everything - including my first PS concert. And then suddenly to have him ask for my name and sign me a personalised autograph - it´s just so unexpected and so very touching that he took the time to do that, it wasn´t necessary at all, I would have been more than grateful just to have seen him up close, and yet he made the effor tot make it special and that´s a memory I´ll always treasure.

So after that wonderful afternoon meeting we went to cool down a bit in a cafe, ready to line up buy 530 - they were meant to shut the roads and open the gates at 6. We saited at what we thought was the main entrance and was told gates would open at 7 instead. Then Lio who speaks German found out that there weas a better entrance to wait at so we went there - however giving up our first in line positions at the original place and finding ourselves behind about a dozen other ppl. THere while we waited we met Richard also from France. ANyway after a long wati the gates finally opened and we basically elbowed our way through. Anita from LIlle got the stage first and saved us perfect spots - first row, slightly right of stage centre. There was a gap of about 1.5 m to the stage, which was also very high, so no question fo handshakes but def great views guaranteed. Anyway here comes the frustrating part. We waited. Officials handed out ponchos and lollies and earplugs (lol). THen we foudn out there´d be an opening act. A swiss girl with a beautiful voice but averag emusic and sub-par lyrics sang for 45 minutes! It was unbelievable. Then 15 mins to clear the stage and basically Paul and the band came out at 9pm.

But it was definitely worth the wait because what followed was two hours of absolute magic. As I write this it´s 4:30am and my mind´s a bit hazy but to give you an idea of how great it was, it was better than any recording I´d ever seen (perhaps even CP91 included), and Alain who´d been to countless concerts said it was probably the best he´d seen too. Paul was in extraordinary shape - 2 hrs almost non stop spng after song except short breaks between encores. His voice was just gorgeous, so superfluous you could never in the world tell it was the voice of a 68 year old. But best of all, he was in an absolutely fantastic mood, and so was the audience. I think it´s always a reciprocal thing, a really important artist - audience communication which makes or breaks concerts. The communication was perfect at Lorrach. It started to rain quite heavily but no one minded 0 and the place was packed. Eveyrone was so receptive, even to the newest material, and I think he really appreicated that. I´m sure someone will give a more detailed review of the songs, but moments that stood out for me in paticular - Paul jumping up and down, literally, on stage, the absolutely enchanting renditions of Duncan, Slip Sliding, SOS and Still Crazy, Paul enjoying himself so much that he gave sang with hilarious exaggeration ´Amen and Hallelujah´ in YCCMA, the constant smile on his face, his fooling around with the musicians, his moving around on stage and strumming his guitar as if he was 40. He didn´t say anything except ´thank you´ but he didn´t need to, you could read it clear as a mirror on his face. It was absolutely sublime. THe lihgting was extremely well done and added to the fantastic atmosphere. Some more personal memoreis too, he faced our side of hte stage quite a bit and there were prolonged periods where I could stare right into his eyes as he was singing. THat was really something. ANd also at the end of Graceland, as you may have noticed form past recordings he has a habit of walking along hte stage and strumming his guitar out at the audience - well he did that, leant over quite a few times and I guess he recognised me again because when he came to us he leant forward, gave me a huge smile and a strum of his guitar straight in our direction. It was absolutely magical. Anyway all in all I htink the only way to describe the evening, or the entire day rather, is perfect - perfect from beginning to end. I know Paul has often giventhe impression fo being cold, impersonal and distant but he was the ocmplete opposite of all of the above at Lorrach. For a first concert - or indeed for any concert - I can´t imagine how it oculd have been any better. In few days I´m going to see him at Taormina but I´m a bit hesitant now because after what we had tonight I don´t see how anything could match that. But even if it can´t be as perfec,t I´m sure it will be wonderful - a superb setting to complement music from the most superb singer-songwriter I have ever known.

I am just so grateful to have discovered Paul´s music, for having now finally seen him in concert, for having talked to him, for havng a momento where he has written my name, for every memory from today and tonight because it was all just so perfect.

And of course, ahuge thank you to Lio, Alain et Anita who looked after me so generously in Strasbourg. If you haven´t visited the french forum, do come and talk to us, n´hesitez pas. Everyone there is just so welcoming and encouraging and it´s always lots of fun. It´s through Paul music that we´ve had the chance to meet each other and that´s something really special to me.

Well that´s all for now. I hope that one day everyone will have the experice we had today. More magic soon fr Taormina I hope.

Review by:

After the concert in Eisenstadt was cancelled I was quite depressed. The nearest possible concert was Lörrach in Germany so we decided that we will try our luck there. And what a great choice it was!

The concert took place in the Marketplace of Lörrach and was standing only, which I prefer a lot to the seated concerts. Everything was well organized and we were lucky to be there at the right time to get very close to the stage. The sound was perfect and everyone was into the music and dancing and singing along right from the beginning and Paul and the band looked very pleased with the audience. The setlist was the same as in the last concerts ´“ unfortunately ´Spirit Voices´ was left out.

I like the balance of old and new a lot and I think the setlist is a good mixture between upbeat and slow songs. The audience was very quite during the quiter songs and going crazy on the fast ones. In the area where we were standing, the atmosphere was gorgous. In the middle of the concert it started to rain, but everyone took out their raincoats and continued having fun.

There were so many highlights for me, that I can hardly remember everything. I thought Paul´s voice was really fantastic yesterday especially on SOS and Still crazy. You could hear every single instrument perfectly and the band definetly had a great time up there. It is really fun to watch when they are all grinning from one ear to another like during the solos on That was your mother. I thought the new drummer Charley Drayton does a great job and fits in very well in the band and I always loved Jamey Haddad playing. (By the way I got one of Charleys broken drum sticks that he threw in the crowd). I especially like it, when the ´horn section´ comes in ´“ they sound gorgous together. I really don´t have any complaints. I had a fantastic time and so had all the people, that came with me.

So was it worth it driving 11 hours and 850 km to Lörrach, staying there for 6 hours to visit the concert and driving another 10 hours back in the night ? There is only one answer: It was!!!